Norman Animal Welfare Seeks Community and City Help Amid Struggles

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Norman Animal Welfare is asking for help from the community and the town of Norman.

They have major concerns with the air conditioning unit in their building, and they need new machines and are also looking to fill two staffing positions.

One of the concerns is the ventilation in some rooms.

Rebecca Bean, from the Norman Animal Welfare Oversight Committee, said she asked the council earlier this year for new air conditioning units, new ventilation machines and two new posts.

Last week, they discovered that those requests had been denied.

“We can and should meet the needs of this community…It’s a critical need and we believe the management of the shelter when they say these are things they need to ensure the success of the shelter,” said Bean.

In a letter to city council, Bean said:

“At our February 2022 meeting, our committee voted unanimously to support two staff positions and two capital improvements requested by shelter management. These requests from the shelter include an adoption coordinator, a animal welfare, a fix for the HVAC situation and a new anesthesia machine. We were shocked to find that none of these much needed requests were included in this budget.”

She also said that in 2017 a consultancy firm assessed the shelter and noticed that it was understaffed,

“The recommendation was to either hire more staff or consider turning the shelter over to a non-profit. So over the last few budget cycles we’ve been able to add the necessary help. But that’s not is not enough,” Bean said.

On Tuesday, Bean reread that letter at a city council meeting.

Members said they would work to possibly add the ventilation system to next year’s budget or try to use this year’s extra revenue, but nothing was set in stone.

Another difficulty they face is that they are at full capacity for dogs at the shelter.

City council member Brandi Studley said she herself had just adopted a pet from the shelter.

“I just want to say that I just adopted an animal from the shelter and the work they do there is amazing. It’s packed,” Studley said.

City council member Brandi Studley also noticed the ventilation issues.

“When I was in there it was hot, it stank and it’s because the ventilation is bad, and they need help. They need the money,” Studley continued.

Bean says most of the dogs have been there for more than 30 days. Some of them have been there for 100 days or more. Also, right now, she says, they only have about eight hours a week of regular volunteers.

“That means these dogs, unless a volunteer comes, don’t come out of their kennel because the staff are busy all day doing adoption work, cleaning and feeding these dogs and cats,” said said Bean.

Councilwoman Lauren Schueler said she has raised the HVAC system and anesthesia machine to possible additions to the 2023 budget or to see if there are any additional funds left over from this year’s budget.

Another consideration that came up was the separation of Norman Animal Welfare from the Norman Police Department.

Council members said this is something they could discuss at the next business meeting.

If you would like to help the shelter by volunteering, sponsoring or adopting, you can find out more here.

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